Reigning ONE Heavyweight World champion Arjan Bhullar watched closely as undefeated Russian banger Anatoly Malykhin took care of business at the recently-concluded ONE: Revolution, knocking out Iranian star Amir Aliakbari in the first round.
Arjan shared his thoughts on the fight, praising Malykhin while taking a further dig at Aliakbari. “You know what, (Anatoly) Malykhin is a real athlete who is dedicated to his craft. Amir [Aliakbari] is an Instagram star who likes to talk. So it was cool to see them compete and it went down the way it did,” Bhullar said in a recent interview with South China Morning Post.
“Maybe Amir should start talking less and [start] training more’ It’s ok to talk, but you have got to back it up. That’s a couple in a row now. He better get to work, otherwise, it won’t be looking good for him.”
Malykhin’s victory and impressive performance earned him the next shot at Bhullar’s heavyweight belt, and the two are expected to meet in the Circle by the end of the year or early next.
Bhullar revealed he has already begun to study Malykhin’s style and has discovered some chinks in his game.
“I see weaknesses in the grappling and in the stand-up, to be honest. We’ve sat down as a team, studied his fights in ONE, before ONE, all of that,” Bhullar said.
“We’ve done our research on this guy and we are confident heading into the fight once it gets booked.”
Both Bhullar and Malykhin are capable wrestlers with good striking skills, making this an even match-up on paper. However, the first Indian MMA world champion in history believes he has what it takes to end Malykhin’s unbeaten streak.
“We’re going to dominate. We’re going to dominate and we are going to show them [I’m a] complete mixed martial artist. I’m a world champion for a reason,” Bhullar said.
“Anatoly [Malykhin] is going to have that fighting spirit. He has ‘hat in him. But I’m just a better mixed martial artist, I’m a’world champion. I’m just a little bet’er than him and I’m going to prove it and I’m excited for that, to break that fighting spirit and break his will and to get my arm raised.”